Nonprofits love free or discounted services. And what if I told you that there are free solutions for a variety of common nonprofit marketing projects—from graphics and photos to fundraising to relationship management? You (and your budget) are really going to like these 18 free marketing tools for nonprofits.
Don’t let a low marketing budget hold you back. We’ve broken out these free marketing tools for nonprofits into project categories for you to consider.
Problem: Projects are dragging on and tasks are getting overlooked because your team is unsure of who’s doing what and where projects stand.
Free solution: The basic version of Asana is free. The project management and collaboration tool can help you more easily organize, plan and manage nonprofit marketing projects from start to finish. Get your whole team using it so that you can coordinate projects with multiple people, so everyone knows who’s doing what, what’s been completed, and what you have left to tackle. Set deadlines for yourself and share files and status updates within each task.
Problem: You’re still sending emails to your nonprofit’s list from a personal email account.
Free Solution: MailChimp offers a free tier, where your nonprofit can send up to 12,000 emails to up to 2,000 subscribers a month. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that we’re recommending MailChimp here. We use them for our company emails and recommend them to all of our clients. MailChimp allows you to create professional and well-designed emails that produce results.
Problem: You want to advertise online and appear in search engines, but you don’t have the budget to pay for digital ads or search engine optimization.
Free Solution: Google Ad Grants offer a Google Ads account with a $10,000 monthly cap to all eligible nonprofits at no cost to you. With Google Ads, you can create text-based ads and associate them with different keywords to appear within the search engine. When someone searches for a keyword you’ve chosen on Google, your ad could appear above or below the organic search results for that phrase.
And, if you’re struggling to build out or keep up your account, consider participating in Google’s Ad Grants Online Marketing Challenge. You’ll be paired with marketing students (along with a faculty member) looking for experience on the platform.
Customer Relationship Management
Problem: You have too many supporters to properly manage them all. Your fundraising processes are not streamlined and require lots of data entry. You’ve looked at donor management software, but it’s all way too expensive for your budget.
Free Solution: The Salesforce Nonprofit Success Pack is a free customer relationship management (CRM) software for nonprofits. It has built-in tools to help you manage programs, donations, volunteers, and supporters in one location. Plus, it integrates with lots of other tools (like your website or email service) to prevent all of that mindless data entry.
Problem: You need a way to connect your staff for marketing projects. We’re talking about securely sharing documents, circling up for video calls, synching up your calendars, etc.
Free Solution: G Suite for Nonprofits provides nonprofits with free access to G Suite Basic, which can be set to use your nonprofit’s website domain. It includes Gmail (for staff emails), Docs (so you can forget Microsoft Word), Calendar (that can you can share with the whole team) and Hangouts Meet (for video calls). It also includes Google Drive, which lets your team write, share, edit and leave comments or feedback within documents, spreadsheets, presentations
Problem: You think your supporters would be willing to fundraise for you, but you don’t have the budget or staff capacity for managing another fundraising platform.
Free Solution: Facebook Fundraising Tools can easily be integrated into a social media fundraising strategy. Facebook’s Fundraisers let your supporters (or staff) fundraise for you by creating fundraisers with their own pages and donation capabilities. Use our Facebook Fundraising kit template to let your supporters know how to set these up and provide a few resources to help them along.
Social Media Management
Problem: You want to keep your social media accounts active, but who has the time or energy to
Free Solutions: Schedule posts in advance with Hootsuite or Buffer. Both tools have free plans and integrate with all of the big social media channels, like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn
Problem: You guess about the effectiveness of your nonprofit’s website and digital marketing projects when strategizing or making decisions, but aren’t able to use real results.
Free Solution: Google Analytics provides a free look at who is visiting your website, how they’re getting there and what actions they’re taking once they arrive. Set up dashboards to take a more focused, bite-sized look at your website data on a regular basis.
Bonus Free Solution: Hotjar for Nonprofits offers a free business account to dig a little deeper into how visitors are behaving on your website. The tool allows you to look at heatmaps and recordings of user sessions to see exactly which sections of your website are working as you hoped and which sections could use some improvement.
Graphics and Photos
Problem: You want to be better about including graphics in your social media posts and on the blog, but don’t have a designer on your team. The photos on your website could use some love in general.
Free Solution: Canva is a free and easy-to-use tool for creating graphics or editing photos for your website and social media channels. Drag and drop elements like text boxes, frames, backgrounds, icons, or uploaded photos to add intrigue to your graphics. Plus, see how to use the free tool for editing photos to use on your website.
Problem: You don’t have the capacity or budget to build out a custom online forum for your community, but think they’d enjoy and benefit from communicating with each other.
Free Solution: Facebook Groups are a free and easy way to encourage discussion and connections in a place where your supporters are already spending their time. Should your nonprofit start a group? Nonprofits can use Groups to facilitate support, connect volunteers, plan events, give board members a way to communicate informally and open communications for any other subsets of your organization, both big and small groups of people.
Problem: How you promote and organize volunteer opportunities is disjointed and incredibly manual. You’d like a way to promote volunteer opportunities on your website and easily communicate with volunteers once they sign up.
Free Solution: Our Volunteer Management plugin for WordPress makes organizing opportunities and managing volunteers easier. Quickly create and promote opportunities, accept applications and send reminder emails—all from your website.
Problem: You can’t keep track of all of your passwords, and some of your accounts use
Free Solution: We like using LastPass to store and manage all of our passwords. Remember one password to log in and have LastPass keep track of the rest. The free tool will automatically add usernames and passwords to any password protected site that you visit. You can also use it to generate strong and secure new passwords and share them with other staff or volunteers at your nonprofit.
Problem: Your nonprofit deals with sensitive subjects, and you don’t have many photos that you can share online.
Free Solution: Use stock photos. Photos add intrigue, visually break up a page and draw the eye to your content. To start, check out Pexels and Unsplash. Both sites allow you to search for stock photos and download them for free.
Problem: Your audience is interested in webinars, but you’d need a free platform through which to share them.
Free Solution: FreeConferenceCall.com allows for free video conference calls with up to 1,000 participants. The screen sharing, recording and chat capabilities through these calls can be a great free tool for conducting webinars for your nonprofit.
For professional development, check out our list of great free resources. However, not every problem has a free solution. For these situations without available free marketing tools for nonprofits, check TechSoup for a wide variety of discounts on technology products. And if you find something that meets your needs elsewhere, it never hurts to ask about a discount for nonprofits! The worst they can do is say no.
Which free marketing tools for nonprofits do you use? Did we miss any on our list? Tell us how you work to solve marketing problems on a tight budget in the comments below.